Welcome to Audiobook Friday!
I love audiobooks, but for me they really don't get the attention they deserve in the book blogging world (well, at least in the corners I frequent) so I'm making Fridays here Audiobook Friday! It might be a review, it might be some new releases or some audiobook news, or maybe a discussion - who knows!
To kick things off, I'm going to tell you why I love audiobooks, some of the downsides of audiobooks and I want you to tell me your feelings too.
Why do I love audiobooks?
I listened to my first audiobook in 2010. I was sick at home with the flu, and all I wanted to do was space out on my sofa, but everything on TV was boring the pants off me, so I downloaded one just to see what it was like.
I didn't think I would be able to do anything whilst listening to an audiobook because it would break my concentration. But if it's the right book, with the right narrator I can do quite a lot whilst listening along:
Commuting: I spend upwards of two hours a day on my commute too and from work, but I can't read on buses or trains (bleugh, motion sickness). But I can listen to audiobooks and in fact they help my journey go much quicker. I also listen when I'm walking somewhere (bad habit I know), particularly somewhere I'm familiar with so I'm just off in my own little world (and the book world!).
Cleaning: Ugh I hate cleaning, but because I don't have to use my brain to do it, I can listen to audiobooks at the same time, and if it's a really good book, I'll even *gasp* look for something else to clean just so I can keep listening.
When I'm Sick: I love audiobooks! I can lay in my bed and close my eyes and have someone read TO me rather than try and hold up a book and focus on the words.
I admit, I was a complete skeptic - how can listening to a book possibly hold my attention like reading a book? I suck at just 'sitting' so how could I just lay there and stare into space whilst someone with an annoying voice read a book to me? But over a short time, I came to appreciate audiobooks hugely - I can listen to them on my commute because I can't read text (bleugh, motion sickness!), I can listen to them while doing boring chores and when I'm ill and just cannot face the thought of focusing on text.
The downsides of audiobooks
The Cost - Audiobooks can be really expensive, especially if you are buying them on CD. But there are some cheaper (and free) ways to get your hands on some awesome audiobooks.
Firstly, Audible often has sales where you can pick up some bargain priced audiobooks for a limited time. The selection is huge (although the cheaper ones tend to be limited to a certain genre, and newer-releases are rare) and if you try a couple of audiobooks and decide you want more, you can sign up for a monthly plan where you pay a certain amount and receive credits towards purchases. This is the way I use Audible because 1 credit can be used for almost every book, whether its $5 or $35.
You can also buy audio-books as downloadable MP3 files from a lot of online book sellers (I stick to UK based sellers such as WH Smith and Books on Board (which also has a US site), but I'm sure there are plenty out there!), and borrow them from Overdrive, or most probably your local library.
The Narrators - One lesson that I've learnt the hard way is to listen to a sample before buying. Some narrators are fantastic, others average and some made me want to scratch out my eyes with a rusty nail. Now, I always listen to a sample to get a feel for whether the narrator fits the story, and also fits me!
So, over to you guys - do you listen to audiobooks? If you do, what do you love about them? If you don't, what about them doesn't work for you, or what turns you off them?